Tag Archives: Vintage Cameras

Nikon F2 Photomic (1971 – 1980)

This post has been in the works for a long time. Why? My friend Mike Williams gave this camera to me almost 6 months ago, Christmas 2017. Mike knew I’d been very happy with the Nikon F and Nikomat FTn. And to this day, Mike says this is his best find at Goodwill. I think he’s right because the F2 Photomic still commands a high price online, especially one in this shape.

The F2 was introduced by Nikon in 1971, and is the successor to the Nikon F. It was discontinued in 1980 when the F3 was released. The original F and F2 cameras look nearly identical with the only difference being the meter mounted atop the camera body. The F2 features shutter speeds of 10s to 1/2000th sec, where the original F was 1 sec – 1/1000th sec. The ISO can be set from 6 to 6400. One item I came to appreciate on F2 Photomic is the meter. It’s activated by the shutter advance. When the advance arm is in its resting position, the meter is active. When pressed in towards the body, the meter turns off. On the F with FTn, you must press a button on the side of the meter to activate it, and then remember to push another button down to turn it off. What does this mean? The F2 Photomic isn’t going to eat batteries because you forgot to turn the meter off. Improvements were also made to the flash sync over the F. The F2 has a flash sync of 1/80th sec, where the original F has a sync of 1/60th sec. Another commonality between the F and the F2 is the weight. The F2 Photomic with lens weighs over 2 lbs!

According to Ken Rockwell, the F2 was “king of newspaper and magazine photography in the 1970’s.” And the development for the camera was driven by NASA for the Apollo and SkyLab missions. I found this comment from Ken Rockwell somewhat humorous: The Nikon F2 is so good that many photographers — including myself — preferred to pay more for used Nikon F2s in the early 1980s after they were discontinued than to pay less for a brand-new Nikon F3 with which Nikon replaced it. The Nikon F3 was electronic, and was not trusted to meet professional demands under all conditions.

The Nikon F2 is simply a great camera. One of the last mechanical shutter camera bodies made before electronic shutters appeared in the 1980’s. The F2 is a solid camera. If you didn’t know any better, you could pound nails with the body. Within a dozen shots taken with this camera, I decided that a telephoto lens would be a nice addition, so I purchased a Nikkor 35 – 200mm, f/3.5 – 4.5.

Camera: Nikon F2 Photomic (1971 – 1980)
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400
Process: Kodak D-76 (1+1) 6:30 @ 27° C
Scanned: Epson V600 Photo

 

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Nikon EM & Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4

Nikon EM (1979 - 1982) with Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4

Last year my film-photographer-partner-in-crime, Mike Williams, sent me a Nikon N2000 with Nikkor 50mm lens. Mike had wrapped the camera and lens in several layers of bubble wrap before placing in the box. That however didn’t stop USPS from damaging the contents. When I received the box, one side was damaged to the point that it looked like someone had taken an axe to it. The camera appeared to be fine, but the lens had a noticeable dent where you would thread on a filter. Fast forward eight months, Mike reminds me to test the camera. I hadn’t told him about the damage (because I knew he’d be pissed), but intended to use the camera and lens despite the damage. The N2000 body that appeared to be un-wounded, and working, was now dead. I still wanted to use the lens despite its new dimple, so I mounted it on my Nikon EM. I refer to this camera and lens combination as, “like putting an engine from a Mustang in a Pinto.” The images were shot on FPP High Speed Retrochrome 320 and processed E6. The resulting colorcast is very retro, warm, with medium grain.


Expired, Retired, and Still Fired – Part 2

Camera: Yashica Electro 35 GS (1970 – 1973)
Film: Kodak Tri-X 400 (Expired 6/10) bought at Goodwill for $.99
Process: RepliColor, Salt Lake City, UT
Scanner: Epson Perfection V600 Photo

 

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Kodak No. 1 Panoram

This week we’re featuring a guest post from Maurice Greeson. I’ve come to know Maurice from visiting the Ogden Union Station Restoration Shop in Ogden, Utah. Each week, members of The Golden Spike Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society volunteer time restoring, Denver & Rio Grande Western railroad steam locomotive #223 to an operational engine. Maurice is a talented photographer with a vast collection of vintage cameras. You can see more of his work on Flickr. Maurice has a Kodak No. 1 Panoram camera that was manufactured by Kodak from 1900 – 1926 and cost $10. This Model-D was made around 1915. A 6-exposure 2 1/4 x 7 film cartridge was $.40 or you could use a 3-exposure cartridge that was $.20.

Kodak No. 1 Panoram

Kodak No. 1 Panoram

The steam locomotive is No. 223, an 1881 Grant loco currently under restoration at Ogden’s Union Station. Photo by Maurice Greeson.

The steam locomotive is No. 223, an 1881 Grant loco currently under restoration at Ogden’s Union Station. Photo by Maurice Greeson.

This was shot on April 24th, 2015 at The Union Station, Ogden, Utah, with a one hundred year old Kodak No. 1 Panoram camera.   I’ve had this camera sitting on the shelf for a few years and finally decided to try it out. I’m not sure where or when I acquired it. (Old cameras seem to float in and out of my life) Originally using Kodak No. 105 roll film it seemed a perfect candidate to modify for 120. Too easy! All that was necessary was to file down a slightly protruding metal piece in the bottom of the supply chamber. It also helped to sand down the plastic Fuji 120 spool on one end. (The older metal 120 spools could be a problem) The next thing was to figure out the number spacing. Since the negatives from the Kodak are 7” long it wasn’t too hard to figure out that 2,5,10, & 14 would work. I just laid out a discarded paper backing from a 120 roll film and saw that the numbers for shooting 16 shots with a 1 5/8” x 2 ¼” camera would be under the red window. Although touted by Kodak as being able to shoot hand held, I used a tripod.   Keeping the camera level is a good thing although shooting up or at an angle might give some interesting effects. I still haven’t figured out the shutter speeds or f/stop, but the simple meniscus lens does a pretty nice job on a sunny day. This is a fun camera to use, even if it is a bit fiddly. You have to cock the lens by moving a lever on the top of the camera to the left or to the right. Pressing the release button lets the lens swing to give you the 112 degree picture. The only down side is that it costs about $1.25 per exposure. Shot with Fuji Acros negative film size 120 and developed in a home brewed MQ developer. Yup… D76!   If you haven’t tried making up your own developer from scratch just give it a try. There are only four chemicals in D76! The steam locomotive is No. 223, an 1881 Grant loco currently under restoration at Ogden’s Union Station.

 

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Camera Collection

For the past month I’ve been running test film through various cameras so I can share the results here. This week, I want to show off some of the most recent additions to my collection.
 

Yashica A - 120 Film (1959 - 1969)Yashica A – 120 Film (1959 – 1969)

 

Pentax Spotmatic - 35mm Film (1964 - 1973)Pentax Spotmatic – 35mm Film (1964 – 1973)

 

Nikon EM - 35mm Film (1979 - 1982)Nikon EM – 35mm Film (1979 – 1982)

 

Pentax ME Super - 35mm Film (1980 - 1986)Pentax ME Super – 35mm Film (1980 – 1986)

 

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Who Are You? Why Film? Why Now?

This is one of those moments where you attempt to accomplish something, but you have so much that you want to do, you don’t know where to start. Let me begin with who I am and what direction I want for Utah Film Photography. I’m Shaun Nelson, a photographer from South Ogden, Utah, USA. I originally took up photography 14 years ago when my oldest son was born. I consider myself part of the new generation of photographers in the way that I started shooting digital. It’s all I’ve known until the last year. Prior to digital, I had no experience or desire to shoot film. In October 2013, Jacob Nuttall from Acme Camera Company was demonstrating an old Polaroid Land Camera 250 at a Studio o2o Creative Exchange. I was honestly shocked at the beauty and contrast of the black and white images coming out of the vintage camera. Two weeks later, I bought my first Land Camera. In December, my wife gave me an old Canon A1 for Christmas. From that point forward, I’ve been buying vintage cameras and shooting film for fun. Since January 2014, I’ve collected over 25 film cameras. At times it’s made my wife very nervous that I’ve immersed myself into something so quickly. My feeling about my camera collection is simple: I won’t buy a camera that I can’t put film in and use. Museum pieces are nice, just like classic cars and comic books, but I want to take them out and enjoy them. Along with collecting the cameras, I’ve found a lot of satisfaction researching them and learning about them. There are so many fantastic stories behind companies, specific camera models, and the people who made them. In many ways, it’s a new culture of creativity that’s been opened to me. And I want everyone that loves photography, film or digital, to feel the same. That’s why I’ve created this site.

Shaun Nelson – March 2014
Self-portrait inspired by Kenneth Linge and Uncle Fester.

This site isn’t about film versus digital. It’s not about who won the photography war, megapixels or silver halide. It’s about preserving what is becoming a fading art. It’s about sharing, inspiring, and having fun. The desires I have for this site can be found on the About page. This site will feature articles written by myself and special guests. If you visit Utah Film Photography and see something that you’ve known for years, or though experience, and recognize information needs to be added or corrected, I ask that you be patient with those who are just starting their own understanding of film photography. I invite you to share your own thoughts here, on Facebook and Twitter. This site will not be a negative experience for the content creators, casual readers, and participants.

Why start another site about film photography? Let me attempt to explain with a lame analogy. Remember the first time you heard your favorite band or singer? Do you remember wanting to share a specific song with your friends or family? It’s an exciting moment. As time passes we don’t typically wake up one day and stop liking that band or specific style of music. We might enjoy other types of music, add new genres to our collection, but that favorite band continues to stay with us, year-after-year, decade-after-decade. Even when that band has broken up, some members have passed away or entered rehab for the 10th time, we love that one particular song or album. If you know me on a personal level, you might think I’ve engaged in an expensive, eccentric, or trendy hobby. That’s not true. With this site, I want to share my own experience and discoveries with film photography. Talking about film photography and vintage cameras is exciting to me. Just like the excitement I had when I came upon my favorite band and music, I wanted to share it. That’s how I feel about photography.